Thoughts on starting a holiday

by | Nov 27, 2023 | Latest Post | 0 comments

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I’m sure this is something my readers and I will have in common. The holiday is far distant, next month, then next week, and finally the day dawns. Today is THE day. Today is the day I have been looking forward to for some time, the chance to take a break, I normally pack far more clothes than I actually use and this is a habit I have been unable to break. I took four pairs of trousers of which I wore two, 4 shirts of which I wore two and I carried back and forth an unnecessary weight. Never mind the 20 kilograms that we are allowed on flights  or much less if you go with Ryanair.

Our departure time was 12 40 from Bath. Thank goodness, no passports, no documentation, no special money arrangements, just get yourself and your baggage to the appointed place and wait. We took a 10 o’clock bus from Midsomer and arrived around 11 a.m. We walked around town a bit and then ended up at the delightful salvation Army restaurant. It is called Sally Ann’s Community Cafe, The Citadel, Green Park Road Bath BA1 1XE we decided to have a drink there before standing outside the coach waiting point which was in the street nearby.

Atmospheres cannot be manufactured by, for example, clever design. Atmospheres are in the wall, in the brickwork, aided and abetted in this case by the friendly staff, some of whom were volunteers. Francoise met an old fellow volunteer from AgeUK and they used the time to catch up. Some customers in the cafe were just sitting there over a cup of coffee reading, some were slumbering, some were talking at the very informal tables. Many people seemed to know each other.

Our volunteer friend said that the food was cheap and I said we should not use the word ‘cheap’, better to say ‘good value’ food and we all had a laugh about that. It is very nice to start a journey with a laugh and in a situation of companionship.

Off to stand in the appointed place, pace up and down, to look frequently at my watch. Finally the coach came, half an hour late and we scrambled on. We had seats 44 and 45.  To the IKEA at Bristol where we picked up two people who complained loudly about being in the freezing weather for 45 minutes and then along to the M4 and up the M5. We stopped off at the wonderful, the amazing, the one and only, Farm Shop otherwise known as the Gloucester service station.

I have written about this many times before so do a search. Yes, it is a pond. Part of the design.

To me this is one of the seven wonders of the UK restaurant world. There is a strong emphasis on locally produced food and the quality is high. We had to have a break for 45 minutes due to the driver needing to rest every four and a half hours. He must have done a lot of resting because he left Penzance at 6:10 in the morning.

A modern coach but without much leg-room. You have to be a contortionist to use the toilet (down stairs in the middle)

This is a tricky journey across country which takes much longer in a large coach. The destination you can see for yourself is at CV13 0LP. We arrived at this enormous hotel previously owned historically for 300 years by a very important family. More of that later. We were handed the keys to our room and a blue plastic tag to get two for one drinks as we stepped down from the coach. We were told that dinner would be served from 6pm and as it was five thirty pm we didn’t have much time to prepare ourselves. There were three coaches that day and they had to make some sort of staggering arrangement so that the restaurant would not be overcrowded.

To dinner, large numbers of people queuing at the bar to get their bargain drinks. We were shepherded to a table by the very efficient and youthful staff and found the normal starters, soup, main course, sweet course, all buffet Style. I cannot tell you how much I love buffets. If I were never served again at a meal but only had access to buffets I would be pleased. You can tell people who are not buffet affectionados because they pile everything onto one plate. These are amateurs. They have no style. Are they deserving of Life? I will keep my opinions to myself on that matter.

After the meal we wandered around the hotel a little bit, talked to 1 or 2 people, we noticed that the temperature was much lower in some areas than others. I can totally understand this because it is not a new hotel and when the cold wind blows even slightly, it is felt in the corridors. We did our usual unpacking, flicking through the TV channels, and settled in for a four night stay. The room is wonderfully quiet.

So far, so good.



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